Epidemiology and Biostatistics Publications

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Drug and Alcohol Dependence



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BACKGROUND: HIV infection and substance use synergistically impact health outcomes of people with HIV. In this study, we assessed the prevalence of substance use among women living with HIV (WLWH) and compared them with expected values from general data.

METHODS: Cigarette smoking, frequency of alcohol consumption, last-month non-prescribed cannabis use (vs. last-year use), and last 3 months regular (≥once/week) and occasional (

RESULTS: Compared to expected estimates from general population women, a higher proportion of WLWH reported daily cigarette smoking (SPD: 26.8% [95% CI: 23.9, 29.7]), smoking ≥20 cigarettes/day (SPD: 11.6% [9.8, 13.6]), regular non-prescribed cannabis use (SPD: 8.0% [4.1, 8.6]), regular crack/cocaine use (SPD: 16.7% [13.1, 20.9]), regular/occasional speed use (SPD: 2.4% [1.2, 4.7]), and heroin use (SPD: 11.2% [8.3, 15.0]). However, WLWH reported lower frequencies of alcohol consumption and binge drinking than their counterparts in the general population.

CONCLUSIONS: Cigarette smoking and illicit drug use, but not alcohol use or binge drinking, were more prevalent in WLWH than would be expected for Canadian women with a similar age and ethnoracial group profile. These findings may indicate the need for women-centered harm reduction programs to improve health outcomes of WLWH in Canada.


This version is an Author Accepted version of the article which was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume 191, 1 October 2018, Pages 70-77.

Citation of this paper:

Shokoohi M, Bauer GR, Kaida A, Lacombe-Duncan A, Kazemi M, Gagnier B, de Pokomandy A, Loutfy M. Substance use patterns among women living with HIV compared with the general female population of Canada. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Oct 1;191:70-77.

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